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On the campaign trail: Maffei releases first TV ad

Congressman Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) has released his first television campaign ad, sparking sharp criticism from the opposition. Maffei’s ad, a 30-second spot entitled “Hard Work,” features the congressman visiting with small businessmen and –women, chatting with senior citizens and posing with his family. The ad asserts that Maffei, too, is sick of Congressional gridlock and perks and is working hard to get rid of them.

On the campaign trail: Katko named Republican ‘Young Gun’

Congressional candidate John Katko has earned the status of “Young Gun” from the National Republican Congressional Committee after reaching the third and final tier of the group’s recruitment program. Founded in the 2007-08 election cycle by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the Young Guns program provides financial support to candidates in races across the country.

On the Campaign Trail: Katko calls out Maffei; Kessner backpedals on primary

At a press conference on July 2, Republican Congressional candidate John Katko criticized Democratic opponent Dan Maffei, the incumbent representative for the 24th Congressional District, for his grandiose infrastructure plan as well as his vote against a House measure that encourages oil drilling within the U.S.

Enjoy summer with a visit to a state park or a night spent camping under the stars

After the long, cold winter we had here in the Central New York, it’s time to take advantage of the warm weather and the beautiful sunshine as much as we can in the days to come. We’re fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful scenery throughout New York, from our beaches to our mountains to everything in between. When it’s nice out, there is no shortage of locations for taking advantage of what can only be described as glorious weather. The month of June is Great Outdoors Month, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by visiting one of New York’s 180 gorgeous state parks and historic sites.

Help me help the MDA

I need your help to make bail. No, not that kind of bail. I’ve never been arrested. But I am going to “jail.” I’ve been recruited to help the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) with their annual Lock-Up fundraiser. Such events occur nationwide all year long. Business owners and community leaders (and, apparently, weekly newspaper reporters) agree to be “put behind bars for good.” We’re asked to raise money from friends, family, co-workers and, in your case, readers to help make “bail,” which will then benefit the MDA’s research, medical clinics and summer camp experiences.

No good movies playing? No way! Check out your local arts cinema

The spring and summer months after the Oscars come out can be a difficult time for American movie goers. It seems like all of the well-crafted, interesting movies have gone into hiding and in their place have arrived jarring blockbusters and action flicks designed solely to overstimulate the senses. While those movies can sometimes be fun (Thor, I'm thinking of you here), overall they don't offer much satisfaction to people who see cinema as an art form on par with great literature or painting.

OPINION: Teaching to Greatness

Since moving to Syracuse from the Boston area in 2012, I have been captivated by the impassioned public push back here in Central New York on state-mandated accountability testing – high stakes testing that is lately driven by an approach to elementary and secondary education known as the Common Core Standards.

Why I still do this

State finals remind writer of joys inherent in covering sports

So you want to know - after all these years spent jotting illegible things down in notebooks, doing hundreds of interviews, writing thousands of stories, covering untold numbers of contests both mundane and meaningful, and then hammering it out in front of an inanimate computer screen, why keep doing it?

OCC to host business conference

Onondaga Community College is more than just an asset for students seeking an associate’s degree in one of the numerous programs they offer. OCC is home to the NYS Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The SBDC provides one-on-one advisement to start up and existing businesses. OCC staff at the SBDC consists of small business advisors who can advise an entrepreneur on making their business a success. The SBDC works with businesses of all varieties; home based, e-commerce, manufacturing firms — small to large. Services provided by the SBDC are free and confidential. Additionally, the SBDC partners with statewide agencies which provide a strong network of support. Some of the support the SBDC can assist with is business plan development, small business start-ups, organizational structures, exporting, cost analysis, marketing, financial management, financing strategies, training programs, business expansion, selling a business and research.

A committee’s thankless task

Group that decides NCAA Tournament field deserves some love, right?

This Sunday night, just after 6 p.m., anyone who cares about college basketball will see the only bracket that matters. Ron Wellman, athletic director at Wake Forest, and the rest of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee will unveil the 68 teams for our annual Dance – who they are, where they are going, when they’ll be playing.

Best against best

Broncos' offense, Seahawks' D makes for compelling Super Bowl

To save you a whole lot of time between now and Sunday night’s football game in New Jersey with a Roman numeral title that decides the championship of the National Football League, here is the lazy, tired narrative that will get repeated millions of times before they kick it off.

Home considerations

Even if Dome is maintained, new arena would help Syracuse

More than 30,000 packed the Carrier Dome on Jan. 11 as SU’s undefeated men’s basketball juggernaut dismantled North Carolina. Way more, perhaps up to 35,000, will be on hand next Saturday night for the arrival of Duke, even if they’re not as imposing as Blue Devil teams from seasons past.

Kicking off the New Year right

It is that time of year again — time to “set New Year’s resolutions,” “get in shape,” “work on the waist line,” “go on a diet,” “start fresh,” whatever you want to call it, most people feel the need to reevaluate their habits in January after all the holiday hoopla is over. Usually diet and exercise habits rank high on the list of “needs improvement.” On Jan. 1 (or maybe Jan. 2), the “hard core dieters” and the “gung-ho gym members” begin their quest. They sweat, grunt, groan, “give up carbs” and step on the scale every day. A month later, most of them find themselves exhausted, sore, injured, hungry, deprived, miserable and frustrated (maybe even a few other adjectives). They may or may not be in better shape or weigh less. If you plan on trying this approach, please reconsider. If you want long lasting success and really want to feel better emotionally and physically, please try this approach…

Sanity at South Jefferson

Top basketball coach returns; will we learn from it?

This was getting all too familiar. Again a successful, accomplished high school coach in Central New York was getting scrutiny from his employer. Again the coach’s future was put in jeopardy. Again a large part of the community organized itself in support of the coach.

Mandela, man and hero

Great man fought for freedom, forgiveness in extraordinary life

A Sunday morning, February 11, 1990, and I was still a freshman in high school. We were all about to head out to church, but we turned on CNN – and the most astonishing, remarkable and wonderful sight greeted us.

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